News from the Upper Wood - Farquhar Road

In rugged, sub-montane Upper Dulwich Wood winter eventually gave way to spring. Cold-weather visitors like the Redwing were last seen in March. By mid-April the birds of the Wood were actively protecting territories established earlier in the year, with at least 5 Wren territories counted in the Wood’s 2.4 hectares. The 2007-11 BTO Bird Atlas records the Wren as one of the UK’s most abundant species, though numbers are very dependent upon winter weather conditions. The mild - albeit wet - conditions of last winter have surely helped the Wrens in UDW get off to a good start. I cannot recall a time when I heard so many singing.

Nesting activity was apparent amongst the Wood Pigeon population and I also spotted a pair of Song Thrush collecting nesting material. After a decline of over 50% in Song Thrush numbers since 1970, more recent data shows a slow recovery of this lovely species - perhaps because we are better at managing pests than in the past. Our parks and gardens are more pleasant places for the presence of the Song Thrush:

That’s the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over, 

Lest you should think he never could recapture 

The first fine careless rapture!

The Wood holds 3 species of Corvid: Carrion Crow, Magpie and Jay were all regularly seen this spring. The habitat is also attractive to the common titmice: Long-Tailed, Great and Blue Tit. I know Coal Tits are around, as are Goldcrest, but they are more elusive. Being common is no bad thing; I was bird watching on the Tagus Estuary during mid-April and spotted a Blue Tit amongst the cork oaks; my guide advised me that Blue Tits are relatively scarce in Portugal.

What else is there? Well you can see Blackcap and Chiff Chaff, both of which I think are resident all year; I have certainly seen both in the Woods during the winter months. Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker are around and the usual garden birds, Robins Blackbirds and Nuthatch amongst them.

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